shake the hand that takes



Happy belated 200th birthday, Charles Dickens!

incident, call centre 7, operator:9, 03/14/06,
22:51:48–22:56:19
….for Lori Anderson

this is the hand
the hand that takes
and this is the hand
the hand that takes out
the take-out hand

hello?
you don’t know me
but i know you

i’m ready to take an order
an order from you

yeah, hi, what’s the special?

the special is cheese
feta cheese
spinach
extra sauce
and fields of rusting cars

oh.

how are you?

I’m fine…these cars, are they far away?

for now
the garbage
the old cars
the mountains of toilet paper
are safely contained

Where?

this information
is a limited time offer
starting monday I am not at liberty to disclose

a small town
Kelowna
has agreed to take all the detritus

Kelowna is
located near the beautiful
Okanagan Human Recycling Facility

everything’s fine
how are you?

Fine…I’ll take a special, large special, and some cokes.

how many cokes?

Five.

oh

Wh-what’s the matter?

i’m sad
how are you?

Fine, but what–?

it’s the weight
the weight of this service
it really takes its toll

all has not been explained
not everything was in the manuals

this convenience
has bred violent collapse

the isolation
accompanying the suburbs
has turned within

I don’t–

how are you?

Uh…

the strip malls
the highways
finely-cropped boulevards:

are they seething with insects?
is the concrete everywhere?
how can the terrorists hide?
how are you?

grease
grime
stains in the shower
how are you?

muck
weeds
weapons of mass destruction
how are you?

I’m not really hungry anymo–

cancer
murder
the giant hole in the ozone

greed
millions of dead slaves
war all the time

i’m breaking down
i’m breaking down
i’m break–
how are you?
–king into three equal part-time jobs

not in your region
located in Phoenix
at the call centre

actually working in the future
when labour’s cheaper

Oh, god…

everything’s fine
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?
how are you?

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